17 Jan 2013

Work begins to bring Kenya crash victims home

6:31 pm on 17 January 2013

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade says the repatriation process of three New Zealanders killed in an accident in Kenya is underway.

A minivan carrying volunteers from Tauranga-based Bethlehem College rolled into a ditch in heavy rain while travelling from the port city of Kisumu to the small village of Mahanga.

The accident killed Brian and Grace Johnston, who have children at the college, Caitlin Dickson, 19, a former pupil and their Kenyan driver Christopher Mmata.

The group of seven adults and 12 students are in Kenya as part of a mission partnership programme to build classrooms.

MFAT said on Thursday a timeline for the bodies to be returned to New Zealand has yet to be confirmed.

The Deputy High Commissioner from the New Zealand High Commission in Pretoria and the Consul from New Zealand's embassy in Cairo will fly to Kisumu to provide support to the group.

Seven remain in hospital

Seven of the group are still at a private hospital in Kisumu.

Bethlehem College principal Eoin Crosbie told Radio New Zealand's Summer Report programme on Thursday that some have minor injuries, while others have broken bones and bruising.

Mr Crosbie said a senior staff member will travel to Kenya on Thursday for support.

The mother of one of the students who was travelling behind the van that crashed says the group is sounding incredibly strong.

Jennifer Boggis said it is probably every parent's worst nightmare to be away from her daughter at this point.

Lydia Hollister-Jones, a friend of Caitlin Dickson, says she would want the school's work to continue in Kenya.

Greerton Bible Church held a special prayer service and friends of Ms Dickson gathered to pray at the school on Thursday.